Case Study:
Town of Truro

Truro is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States, comprising two villages (Truro and North Truro). Located two hours outside Boston, it is a summer vacation community one town in from Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. It is named after Truro in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Its name among the natives of Cape Cod was Pamet or Payomet, a name that still refers to an area around the town center known as the Pamet Roads. Over half of the town’s land area is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, administered by the U.S. National Park Service.

Truro is geographically isolated with a small year-round population, one of the more exclusive towns on the Cape and noted for its affluent residents. Like most small incorporated communities in New England, Truro uses an open town meeting form of government, led by a Town Moderator and a Board of Selectmen. The town has its own police and fire departments, headquartered on Route 6 just south of the Route 6A split.

Town of Truro Phone

Case Study:
Town of Truro

Town of Truro Phone

Truro is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States, comprising two villages (Truro and North Truro). Located two hours outside Boston, it is a summer vacation community one town in from Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. It is named after Truro in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Its name among the natives of Cape Cod was Pamet or Payomet, a name that still refers to an area around the town center known as the Pamet Roads. Over half of the town’s land area is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, administered by the U.S. National Park Service.

Truro is geographically isolated with a small year-round population, one of the more exclusive towns on the Cape and noted for its affluent residents. Like most small incorporated communities in New England, Truro uses an open town meeting form of government, led by a Town Moderator and a Board of Selectmen. The town has its own police and fire departments, headquartered on Route 6 just south of the Route 6A split.

Town of Truro 1

The Audience

The Town of Truro wanted to make its website more user-friendly for all users. Eventually the project included multiple stakeholders: town hall staff, taxpayers, full time residents, seasonal residents, tourists, town officials, town board/committee members, and multiple departments (police, fire, etc.).

The Problem

The Town of Truro’s website was outdated and the navigation was difficult and non-intuitive for users. It was visually unappealing and hard for staff to update. Residents had complained and the website was adversely affecting good relations between the town staff and its citizens.

The first challenge was in organizing massive amounts of content/information. Beyond that, the site needed to be fully ADA-compliant, and display well on mobile devices. The client needed significant assistance with cleanup of copy and file structure.

Overall, better site design and styling along with user tracking applications would ease.

The Solution

ptownie was able to solve the Town of Truro’s problems through:

  • UX redesign and development
  • installation of Inspectlet on the existing site for review of three months’ of user impressions
  • researching best practices for municipal/government websites
  • Google Analytics review and analysis
  • website style guide
  • copyediting
  • content hierarchy
  • template selection and development

Services included user interface redesign and development, Inspectlet review, content editing, redesign and new styling for 160 department/committee/informational pages, updating site homepage, updating menu structure/hierarchy, and redesign of site’s mobile version.

Town of Truro 2

The Process

The Town of Truro and ptownie consulted through each of the following steps:

  • project kickoff/discovery
  • three-month Inspectlet analysis of user impressions
  • user impressions utilization to inform layout/styling/content upgrade suggestions.
  • research and user insight (public forums at Town Hall)
  • research and user insight (meetings with town officials and employees)
  • website development: worked with CivicPlus (municipal website CMS vendor) to redesign/reorganize website
    user testing and site staging
  • finalization of launch
  • provided client with tutorials on how to use updated site

The Options

ptownie started by researching other municipal/government websites and an Inspectlet review of over 16,000 user sessions. We looked for additional inspiration from travel/lifestyle/informational websites.

ptownie provided the town with three design options from which to choose. Options featured a simple layout using color and fonts to create a clean, professional feel. The town ultimately decided on clean, concise pages with a digestible amount of information (i.e., no infinite scroll). We updated the home page layout to feature direct links to most used/popular pages on the site.

Town of Truro 3

The Constraints

Generally speaking, constraints included:

  • layouts available from Civic Plus had limited flexibility in terms of design and layout changes we could make
  • Truro town hall staff is small with scarce resources
  • the project had over a dozen stakeholders and needed to move through several municipal approval processes
  • we needed to both redesign the site (for residents) and the dashboard interface (for employees) and also provide instruction on how to use the new site to town employees.

That said, there were very few constraints and limitations. This client was very open and easy to work with.

The Validation

We received excellent feedback from stakeholders with a marked decrease in complaints from residents. Validation was received via:

  • adoption of automated processes on the site (submitting tax payment, etc.)
  • increase in site traffic
  • increase in communication via the website.

The result is that users are able to find forms/info/etc. that they need more easily (or inquire via the site) and minimize the need for visits or calls to Town Hall.

“We hired Ptownie to create a website that met the needs of our users. For years, the website was a reflection of what we thought met the needs of our users; not what actually met their needs.  Through an impressive data collection process, a comprehensive analysis of the data, and a general knowledge of best practices, Ptownie was able to make practical suggestions for website improvements and we now have a website that is responsive to the needs of our users.  Matt and Mike were very easy to work with. As our direct contact, Matt came prepared to every meeting, kept the project moving, and anticipated our questions and concerns. He really understood our project goals and broke them down into manageable steps. We are very happy with the final product and, most importantly, it appears that our users are happy with the final product as well.” (Kelly Clark, Assistant Town Manager, Town of Truro)

Town of Truro 4

The Next Steps

Because of the success of the project, the work continues for additional options in many ways.

Specific next steps include:

  • continue to work with individual town departments to improve the presentation of their specific pages.
  • monitor all analytics.
  • site maintenance and content updates.
  • yearly data-driven design updates.
  • continue to monitor user sessions via Inspectlet and revise the site accordingly.
  • addition of other town departments to the main site.